At half-past six on the evening of April 20th, 1889 a child was born in the small town of Branau, Austria. The name of the child was Adolf Hitler. He was the son of Customs official Alois Hitler, and his third wife Klara. As a young boy, Adolf attended church regularly and sang in the local choir.
One day he carved a symbol into the bench which resembled the Swastika he later used as the symbol of the Nazi party. He was a pretty good student and received good marks in most of his classes. However in his last year of school, he failed German and Mathematics, and only succeeded in Gym and Drawing.
He dropped out of school at the age of 16, spending a total of 10 years in school. From childhood, it was his dream to become an artist or architect. He was not a bad artist, as his surviving paintings and drawings show but he never showed any originality or creative imagination.
To fulfill his dream he had moved to Vienna, the capital of Austria where the Academy of arts was located. He failed the first time he tried to get admission and in the next year, 1907 he tried again, and to his surprise, he failed again. In fact, the Dean of the academy was not very impressed with his performance, and gave him a really hard time and said to him “You will never be a painter.”
The rejection really crushed him as he now reached a dead end. He could not apply to the school of architecture as he had no high-school diploma. While living in Vienna, Hitler made his living by drawing small pictures of famous landmarks which he sold as postcards; but he was always poor. He was also a regular reader of a small paper that claimed that the Aryan race was superior to all and was destined to rule the world.
The paper blamed Communists and Jews for all their problems and Hitler agreed to those views. He continued to live a poor life in Vienna and in 1913 decided to move to Munich. Still living in Vienna and being Austrian by birth, Hitler showed more loyalty to Germany. He thought that the Aryan race was destined to rule the world. Many believe that he tried to escape the draft but it was never proven.
His life in Munich was not much better than before and he continued to be poor. Then in 1914 World War I broke out and Hitler saw this as a great opportunity to show his loyalty to the “fatherland” by volunteering for the Imperial army. He did not want to fight in the Austrian Army.
Hitler was a good soldier. Many political opponents claimed that he was a coward but records clearly show that he was not. He received awards of bravery but never achieved a high Rank. In 1918 Germany surrendered and Hitler was very upset about the loss. He believed that it was the Jews and the Communists who betrayed the “fatherland” and it was here that his disliking of the Jews most likely began. Germany after the war was in chaos. With no real Government to control the country, many groups tried to take control. One day a big communist group staged a big riot but another group of ex-soldiers including Hitler managed to hold them back.
THE NAZI PARTY
Since there were not many chances for employment Hitler stayed in the army. Hitler was assigned the job of going go to various meetings of groups which sprang up like mushrooms and to report on them. One day September 12, 1919 – a fateful day in history, Hitler was sent to investigate a small group that called itself the “German Workers Party”. The group mainly talked about the country’s problem and how the Jews, communists, and others were threatening the master race and offered their own solutions.
Hitler was bored by the meeting but when a man stood up and claimed that Bavaria should separate from Germany, Hitler got up and argued that point. He argued that Germany and Germans must unite into one to survive. His natural ability to speak impresses the leader of the group and at the end of the meeting, he gave Hitler a pamphlet and an initiation at the next meeting.
He wasn’t interested in attending but after reading the handout and he accepted. He later joined the German Workers Party and was in charge of Propaganda. The party was small at first but Hitler’s great skill of oratory attracted more and more listeners and it soon became a major party with many followers.
HITLER IN POWER
While spending time in prison for trying to overthrow the government, Adolf Hitler wrote his famous book “Mein Kampf”, in which he describes many problems and where he states that the Jews and communists were responsible for those problems.
He also decided on the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish Question”. It was his goal to eliminate the Jewish race from the European Continent. Historians believe that Hitler saw a great opportunity to get his views across to the German people who have lost all hope.
After he came into power, the Nazi party took control over every aspect of everyday life. Hitler ordered the creation of a special police force to make sure that all opponents would be eliminated, the Gestapo. He also gave orders to set up a special force which would be used to transport and take care of all political prisoners and people thought to be inferior.
The name of the force was the feared SS. Mass propaganda was used to persuade the German people that the “Fuhrer” would make the country strong and powerful again. They also used propaganda against the Jews and other minority groups which were considered enemies. Teachers had to belong to the Nazi party, and children were taught that Jews very the source of all their problems.
Since the country was in chaos after the war, and was forced to pay billions in damages, the Germans saw hope in Adolf Hitler. In the late 1920’s the depression hit which made the situation even worse. Hitler in his speeches blamed the Jews and Communists for their misfortunes and many listened. Unemployment was very high at that time, standing at about 25%. Hitler also spoke out against the unfairness of the Versailles treaty; Germany lost a lot of its territory.
He believed the pure Aryan race is destined to rule the world and wanted to build an Empire that would last 1000 years. He preached that all Germans must unite in order for this goal to succeed. Hitler publicly stated his views on the Jews. When Hitler became chancellor and eventually took over totally the first thing he did was to take away the Jews’ right to vote. Soon they were not allowed to marry with a pure German, they could not hold positions such as teachers, doctors lawyers,..and so on.
Many Jews only then realized that he was serious and many fled Germany. Why did so many Germans follow Hitler? When he took power the economy was basically nonexistent; many looked for answers and hope. Hitler was their answer. He promised to rebuild the Glorious Germany of the past. First, he started to build up the Wehrmacht. Germany was not allowed to have more than 100,000 men, but Hitler broke the treaty and gave orders to increase that number. Factories started putting out weapons and people now had jobs. To the Germans, this was a very good sign. Mass rallies were held, where Hitler continued to use his powers of speech on the German people.
THE ROAD TO WAR
At first, the allies did nothing about the fact that Hitler broke the Treaty. He gave speeches in which he indicated that the German people needed living space. Later he marched into the Rhineland, an area which Germany lost. Next, he moved into Austria, his home country, and annexed it without a shot being fired into the Reich.
Following Austria, he wanted control of the Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia which was mainly German-speaking. He also achieved that goal. The allies didn’t want another war so they led Hitler to do what he wanted to, but when he attacked Poland on September 1st, 1939 the allies no longer stood by and watched. Britain and France declared war on Germany and a few days later, World War II began.
After the Wehrmacht conquered and occupied a territory the SS quickly followed. They would round up Jews, Communists, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and others who were viewed as “Inferior” according to Nazi racial theory and enemies of the German people and put them on trains. They were all sent to Concentration camps, which were set up to implement the ‘final solution’.
Camps such as Auschwitz, Treblinka, Bergen Belsen were all equipped with gas chambers to make the killing process quick and effectual. In those camps, 6 million Jews and many others were killed by the Nazis. Hitler’s army seemed unstoppable but in the end, the allies managed to win many decisive battles. Eventually, on April 30th, 1945 Hitler committed suicide in his bunker by shooting himself in the mouth. His body was burned, but no one knows what happened to the “Fuhrer’s” ashes. On May 7th, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally.
Hitler was one of the cruelest men to ever walk the face of the earth. His belief in the superiority of the “Aryan” race made him hated by all others. He Believed that the Slavs to the east should be made work for the German people. He thought of blacks as being “Sub-human” and most of all he hated the Jews.
So much so, that in early 1945, when equipment and manpower were badly needed on the front Hitler insisted on man and equipment staying and continuing to transport Jews to the camps. In his testament, he left his money to his family and message to the German people “Above all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to be scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal prisoner of all peoples, international Jewry.”
The only people which would be spared were the Scandinavians to the north since they were closely related to the German race. With Hitler’s death, the Nazi party quickly faded.